Efim Shmakov is a twenty-year-old student at the Russian State Central
University of Physical
Education. He lives in Moscow, where he finished
Music School. He plays accordion and enjoys sports. His favourite sports are
skiing, sambo, archery, dancing, fencing and chess. He likes playing
computer games. He also works as a social worker helping elderly people.
At seventeen, he wrote and published
his first book, Attorand’s Sword. The original version of his
literary works are in the Russian language. His talent as a writer is
obvious. One has only to read his charming novels to really know Efim. His
humour is unique. He is a young man with unmatched talent.
This book is a follow-up to Attorand’s Sword,
which was published in 2009. It is the second book from a series called
‘Daggers and Inquisitors’.
war left Zondon in a state of shock. Queen Abellin needs all the help she
can get. She waives Hezzord’s punishment and he returns from exile. He joins
his friends in the services of the Queen of Zondon. Dmitry falls in love
with Galita. After wrestling Macbel, he and his friends establish ‘pax
Dmitry’ putting some stability back into his surroundings. Galita
accepts Dmitry as her steady boyfriend. They take lessons at the Academy
about how to do battle with Zondon’s enemies. Known only to the Queen and a
few of her friends, Dmitry was chosen to be the keeper of Saint Attorand’s
Sword. This sword has miraculous qualities. Only the chosen keeper can
channel all the energy, which emanates from the sword, spreading it evenly
to all the other soldiers, and he can only accomplish this under a spell
cast by Queen Abellin. She travels to faraway lands to make alliances with
Zondon’s friendly neighbours.
with Kate and Kelly are working as daggers for the Royal House, as is
necromancer Hezzord, who has been blacklisted by Abbot, his worst opponent.
When the second war starts, all the people in Zondon are up in arms against
the Forces-of-Evil. Zondon is surrounded on all sides.
miracle can save them from total annihilation. And the miracle happens.
On a sunny hot July afternoon,
three friends were coming back from their walk. They went along the sandy
footpath. Everything around them was green and almost silent. One could only
hear birds singing and dragonflies buzzing.
“What weather!” said the
fair-haired young man, called Max. “It was really sweltering hot for the
last two weeks already. It’s killing me. The earth underfoot is like on
fire. It’s a bad omen.”
“And do you remember the glow?”
butted in Artem, the dark-haired lad, who looked funny. “As if an entire
army was stuck somewhere? What’s going on, it’s beyond one’s understanding.
Besides that incident with the bridge…”
“It’s better not to remember,”
interrupted the red haired Timur. “In broad daylight, it broke right in two.
Just think about it. That day there were lots of people gathered there. And
do you remember that incident with the creek? It’s impossible to forget.”
“A funnel suddenly appeared in
the middle of our creek,” Maxim said again. It drowned as many people as it
could, and it suddenly vanished. Then, the special services were called in.
But they detected nothing suspicious. The road and the small swamp were left
behind. The three friends went further and further, walking in front of the
cemetery. Despite the huge trees growing around, it wasn’t cool here.”
“Perhaps we could drop in?”
asked Timur, pointing to the cemetery.
“Come on, look what’s happening
around,” said Maxim. “Let’s better go home.”
“Is it too much for you to do
that?” noticed Timur. “You are a miserable coward. The whole school already
makes fun of you.”
“That’s not true,” Maxim
defended himself. “I am not afraid of anything.”
The three friends entered the
cemetery’s ground. There, they started running, prancing, laughing, throwing
stones and doing everything of that sort. With each moment their actions
became more and more provocative. That couldn’t last for long.
“Can you eat a candy while on a
grave?” Artem asked soon.
answered Maxim, and he took calmly a sugar candy, and he put it into his
Somewhere aside there was a
shed on wheels, under which in rainy weather the dead people were buried.
The construction was in rather bad condition. The paint has been stripped
off by the weather a long time ago. The walls and the roof have become
overgrown with moss and grass. It’s hard even to imagine how many dead
people have been here.
“Can you lay under the shed, on
a tombstone?” asked Timur unexpectedly.
“I can do that. But I won’t,”
was Maxim’s reply.
“That means you aren’t up to
it,” Artem summed up. “You’ve been tied up to your mother’s apron strings
for all your life.”
“That’s not true,” Maxim
raised his voice. “Let’s go. I’ll prove to you all.”
The three friends directed
their steps towards the shed. There, one of them lied down on the stone.
Strange pictures started floating before his eyes. Soon the young man could
handle the situation. He stood up on his feet, and he passed on the baton to
“Well, now it’s your turn,”
Maxim said proudly to his friends.
“Who’ll be the next?” asked
Timur. “Go ahead. I’ll follow you.”
“Why me?” Artem raised his
voice. “As a matter of fact that was your idea.”
“Ok, it was mine,” said Timur.
He has never been that pale before. And he has never regretted with all his
heart, that he said something.
After Maxim's friends have been
on this stone, God knows where from, there came a wild howl, getting louder
with every moment. The three friends got scared and they ran away.
Having jumped over the fence,
the three friends ran to the road. Running across the road, Timur was struck
by a truck. The drunk driver has knocked him down, and he didn’t stop to
help. Artem and Maxim have run up to the body and found out that Timur was
“What are we going to do?”
Maxim's face was expressing fear. “If our parents find out about this
incident, it’s our arses which will be kicked. And we won’t be allowed to
see each other for a long time.
“We must urgently get rid of
the body,” said Artem while being perplexed. “Let’s throw the corpse beyond
that gully, and go further away, pretending that nothing happened.”
So they did just that. They dug
a shallow grave with their own hands and lowered the body in it. Then they
covered it with leaves and dry grass. Somehow they had no other sobering
thoughts in their minds. The next morning Artem and Maxim met at work in the
suburbs. Meanwhile, the rumour about Timur's disappearance has spread in a
flash around the village, and far outside its limits.
“I’m scared,” said Maxim, who
has been distressed all night long. “Let’s go and tell the truth.”
“Remember, not a soul should
know what happened yesterday to Timur’s body,” said Artem while his face
looked really threatening.
“Don’t you see what’s going on
around,” said Maxim. He was devastated.
“You are a fool. If you tell a
word, I’ll have to kill you,” said Artem, and he picked up a stone from the
floor and he threw it against the wall with all his might.
A big snake appeared from
behind an old container, and it bit Artem’s foot. Convulsing in pain Artem
died immediately, without saying a word. It was all over for him.
“You are going to be the
next,” it seemed to him that a voice came from the snake’s direction, and
next moment the creature disappeared.
“Artem, do you hear me,” the
last hero grabbed-hold of his friend’s front-part of the shirt, and he
started shaking him.
Later, frightened to death,
Maxim ran out into the street, and he began to talk to people. Soon after
Artem’s funeral, some mushroom pickers found Timur's body. And they
announced his family so they could give him a proper burial. Everybody was
The next morning Maxim was
found dead in his bed. There was declared a period of mourning. Lately the
village was plagued with such extraordinary occurrences that have never
happened before. None of the villagers realized what was really happening.
* * *
Two weeks after the hostilities
ended, Zondon was coming back to normal. However, shortage of people after
the defeat, affected everything. The war had taken lots of lives.
Meanwhile, young man Dmitry
together with his classmates was sitting at Macbel’s apartment at night, and
they were playing ‘spin the bottle’. On the opposite side there was sitting
Galita, a red-haired beauty. Dmitry was passionately attracted to her.
“Twist it,” Bel, the sturdy
fellow, said spitefully, looking at him crossed.
Dmitry took calmly a small
bottle in his hands, and he spun it. I don’t understand these people. Why
it’s possible in such a simple game, for the arrow not to point to any
person you’d like. The only thing needed is to turn it around with proper
As he wanted, the bottle
stopped opposite Galita. Dmitry stood up and he kissed her passionately. His
best friends were sitting across him. They were few years older than him.
Neon, he was dark-haired, and a medium-sized guy, who had round prescription
glasses. He studied with Dmitry at the Zondon’s Magic classes. And Ligan, he
was the light-haired young man training to be an Inquisitor.
Macbel, Dmitry's sworn enemy,
was far from being a lone wolf. He had even more friends than anyone else.
And all of them were losers. Where does he find them?
“Let’s go out,” said Bel
angrily. “We’ll talk outside not to disturb anyone.”
“I won’t go anywhere,” Dmitry
answered calmly, trying not to look in Bel’s spiteful eyes.
“It’s not a question, you son
of a bitch,” Macbel shouted at him. “Let’s take a break.”
“Why are you shouting,” said
Dmitry, who was indignant. “I haven’t done anything bad to you.”
Dmitry, Neon, Ligan, Bel and
his friends left the room, after they closed the door behind them. This
couldn’t last for long. In the end there should be only one left. They
couldn’t live together.
“What the hell is going on?”
said Macbel. He was eager to kill anyone with his glance. “One more look at
Galita, and you are a dead man.”
“She’s my other hal…” Dmitry
didn’t finish his answer.
“I don’t care who your other
half is,” continued Bel. “If you come up to her once more, I’ll kill you.
If you think I’m joking, you are mistaken.”
“We are made for each other,”
confessed Dmitry. “I love her, and she loves me.”
“Tell this to an old woman at
the market. What do you hope for, you complainer,” said Macbel, and he burst
into laughter together with his friends, who were standing behind him. “I
really don’t care who loves whom. I want you not to come close to her any
“Why do you pick on him,” said
the young inquisitor, who stood opposite Macbel, at the same level with
him. “Find yourself an equal opponent, and fight with him. Dmitry is much
younger than you. Why do you only bother those weaker than you? Try to act
like that with somebody who’s more robust.”
“You butt out of this, you
inquisition’s agent, or I’ll smash your face,” said Bel and he pulled out of
his pocket some brass knuckles once taken away from Dmitry. And he started
mockingly swinging it right and left.
“You are beaten at every turn.
Torturing people is only thing you are able to do.
The inquisitor just grinned in
reply. And he pulled a knife out of his belt.
“One more word from you, and I
swear I’ll cut your throat, the way the inquisition does.”
“You are a madman. You feel
protected by the Inquisition and that’s why you show off.
“You can’t talk! I simply try
to protect myself, and my friends, from you.”
“Screw you,” Macbel made a
face, and touching his opponent’s shoulder, he vanished from sight.
So they had to leave. The party
was spoiled. As it was night, the friends had nothing to do but to go to
club, and continue enjoying life there.
* * *
At the same time, Artborg, Kate
and Kelly were coming home. He was a thirty-five years old man, with green
eyes and black hair. He was dressed in his black raincoat. And he was
wearing on his belt, a sword made of pure silver with exotic patterns. Kate
was a twenty years old blonde, with blue eyes. She was wearing a short skirt
and an ordinary top. She had a sword on her belt too. And Kelly was also a
blonde with blue eyes. She was twenty as well. She was dressed in a short
skirt and a top, very similar to her girlfriend’s top. The two young women
weren’t twins, not even sisters. But they were good friends. The three of
them were coming home from an assignment.
“What on earth caused those
lads to lie down under a tree?” said Kate, who was perplexed.
“Are you asking me?” Artborg
said puzzled. “Where do I come in? What’s it to me?”
“But still it’s a pity,” Kate
raised her voice. “A whole week has passed since then.”
“What do you want me to do?”
Artborg got worked up. “You didn’t even know them. Should I sympathize with
“Is there any messages from
Hezzord?” asked Kelly. “I guess there’s nothing new. The only thing that
makes me glad is that he should be released soon. He must be tired of his
exile. If I were in his place I couldn’t stand it.
“Sure you could,” has grinned
Artborg. “An alternative isn’t there, let alone being insistent or trying
to get your way. It’s said that he would be released soon.”
“I miss him,” Kelly started
imagining. “I wish we meet him soon.”
“Yes, that would be nice,”
noticed Artborg. “There was no news from him for quite a while.”
There was quiet for some time.
But soon, it was cut short by Kate and Kelly.
“I’m tired. Leave me alone.
Let’s talk about something else. Ok?”
“You were doing nothing, except
for sitting on a chair and staring at a monitor,” said Kate.
“It’s not about that,”
answered Artborg. “I just can’t get back to normal, after the day before
yesterday’ special mission.”
“You aren’t the only one who
feels that way,” Kelly agreed with him. “I too can’t recover.”
Our three friends were walking
along a narrow footpath. Tall trees grew around it. Something strange was
going on with the weather. It was hot even at night. Therefore there were
soda vending machines installed at every turn of the road.
“Are you thirsty,” asked
Artborg. “It’s not too late yet for you two, to turn back. What do you think
“Of course not,” the young
women answered in chorus. “Besides these vending machines stand everywhere.
And one always can trigger them by means of magic if you ask me. Ha-ha!”
The trees were left behind, and
a big apartment block, where the inhabitants of Zondon lived, could be seen
ahead. It was certainly visible from all directions. That if the building’s
view wouldn’t be blocked by high cranes.
It was a huge five-floor
apartment-block. It was built with white stone, and with columns and with
statues of lions, where more than a thousand people lived. Our three friends
walked up the marble stairs on the second floor and turned right.
“We could go to my place,
tonight,” offered Kate. “Anyway, there is nothing for us to do. And it’s
“With pleasure,” Kelly agreed.
“Let’s go in. Don’t stand there as if you were riveted to that spot.
The door opened automatically
before their eyes, and they went inside. The three friends were standing in
the spacious hallway, which was painted white, with red strips going close
to the floor. The hall was full of coat hangers, fully loaded. Artborg’s old
raincoat, which was left there a long time ago, was still hanging there.
Kate entered her bedroom, which
at first looked bare. There in the middle was her soft bed. Opposite was a
home cinema, occupying the whole wall. There wasn’t much furniture. Some
trendy paintings were hanging on walls. And on a side there was a mahogany
“What are we going to do?”
asked Artborg, who was already in her bedroom. “Tell me my darling.”
“Stop playing the fool,” Kate
looked at him angrily. “Guess.”
“I don’t understand, what are
you talking about?” asked Artborg, pretending that he doesn’t understand
“Enough,” shouted Kate. “Or you
won’t get anything today.”
Artborg and Kelly have been
lovers for a long time already. Katie stood up and went out of the bedroom,
going to the kitchen to eat something. The door-lock clicked and Dmitry
barged in the room.
Dmitry wasn’t her brother or
her cousin. Kate recently rescued him from inevitable death. Zondon didn’t
provide him with housing. So she just sheltered him at her place.
Kate looked at the clock in the
corner. Its hands were showing two o'clock in the morning.
“You are late,” Kate sighed.
“How is the party in the apartment of…”
“How do you know,” interrupted
Dmitry. “As I remember, I haven’t told you anything about it.”
“I know everything,” Kate
summed up. “I adore reading other people’s thoughts.”
“Why don’t you sleep?” asked
Dmitry. “It’s already late.”
“I can’t sleep,” Kate answered
apologetically. “By the way, Artborg and Kelly are here. They are sleeping
in my room.”
“Let’s go to my room then.
We’ll chat,” offered Dmitry. “Anyway we remained alone.”
Dmitry’s room was much smaller
than Kate’s room. There simply was no place to stretch. To the left
hand-side there was a bed. To the right hand-side, there was a desk. Behind
it, there was the wall. In front, there was a TV. It was possible to touch
all these things without even getting up from the bed. Kate sat down on the
bed and started listening attentively. While he lay in his bed, Dmitry
talked about them having really good time at that party, until that awful
quarrel has happened.
“Nine of us were sitting on
the floor,” began Dmitry. The moment I was going to kiss a girl, the light
was suddenly switched on. We have looked around. Nobody was there. Traces of
magic were absent too. Then we got really frightened. However, we have soon
continued the game.
“I remember, when I was
studying at the Academy we also liked to play ‘twist a bottle’. But such
events have never happened to us.”
“What else were you doing, if
it’s not a secret?” asked Kate suddenly.
“Can you imagine? One of
Macbel’s friends hit the lads each time he shook their hands, instead of
kissing young women,” Dmitry said laughing. “That’s pretty tough. At first
sight he looks like a normal guy.”
“It’s a pity we didn’t manage
to go out,” sighed Kate. “It was impossible even to quickly come home. We
have to stay on duty all day long.”
Soon Dmitry finished his
chatting. Kate took the floor, and she begun to tell everyone about lost
children. She had no time to tell this story before, and about Hezzord who
should return soon from exile.
“Why did they put their noses
where they shouldn’t,” added Kate. “By the highest standards, it’s all
because of their empty life’ paths. I don’t understand such people. How
could they be happy with themselves?
“I agree,” said Dmitry. “Would
a normal guy lay down in the shade, and do nothing, if he isn’t insane?
Maybe the dead were commanding them to a greater or lesser extent. But
still, they shouldn’t behave in that way.
“You know, Hezzord should soon
return from exile,” Kate started dreaming. He is one of Artborg’s friends. I
told you so much about him. He’s a cool dude. I miss him so much, that I
can’t stand it any more.”
“I’ve heard about him,” Dmitry
sighed. “You’ve drummed this topic into my ears during this month. Let’s
give up the Hezzord’s subject for today.”
“Still, it became so hard to
be on duty after the war was over,” Kate changed the subject. “The new
requirements were established, not like earlier ones. We have to sit all day
long. It’s impossible to leave my place of work. Not to mention the fact
that there are several guys who seat at each place of duty.”
“I understand. I’ll consider
this in the future,” Dmitry’s put an end to the conversation. “Let’s better
talk tomorrow morning. I haven’t slept enough for two days already. Besides,
tomorrow I’ll have to go to the Academy, as always.
Kate kissed Dmitry and she left
The clock’s hands in a hall
were showing half past two. It seemed that they’ve entered the room just a
minute ago. And now she is glad she leaves it.
* * *
Early in the morning Queen
Abellin opened her eyes and she got up from her huge heart shaped bed.
Sunlight was getting evenly in the bedroom. The room was painted in white
and pink colours.
Queen Abellin looked around. It
was still hard to recognize her after the war. She was very beautiful. Her
long white hair hanged down to her belt. Her green eyes sparkled in the low
light. Her waist was so slender, that it was possible to embrace it with one
hand. Her delicate features inspired passion.
“Michel,” said the Queen
calmly. “Bring me my breakfast.”
“As you wish, Your Majesty,” a
voice was heard. God knows where from, a French butler appeared. He was a
man of medium height, with a small beard, holding the Queen’s breakfast on a
“I think I’ve lost my
appetite,” said Queen Abellin, looking ceremoniously. “Take the breakfast
“Your Majesty didn’t eat well
for two weeks,” said Michel. “Please, have some breakfast. Your Majesty
looks very pale.”
After his plea, the butler has
left with the Queen’s untouched breakfast. Somebody knocked at the bedroom
door. Professor Tuibe, the best friend of Queen Abellin, and the second
person of the whole Zondon, entered the room.
She was a blue-eyed brunette
with straight hair. She was as beautiful as the Queen was. Today she was
wearing black leather pants and white cotton t-shirt.
“Take a seat,” the Queen said
softly, raising her head.
“Why is Your Majesty so sad?”
Tuibe asked proudly.
“I’m all right. It’s just that
everything happened at once,” sighed Queen Abellin. “The inquisition… the
dead… the evil spirits…”
“Don’t lose hope Your Majesty,”
said the professor, trying to cheer up the Queen. “Everything is going to
be ok. I’ve heard the news about necromancer Hezzord. It says he would
“Yes, these rumours have been
being spread all over Zondon, and far beyond its limits, for a long time,”
added the Queen. “I don’t understand, why do people treat necromancy so
badly. It can’t be true that everyone who is engaged in it were bad people.”
“I do agree with Your
Majesty,” said Tuibe. “Our hero isn’t a bad man in comparison to others. If
most of necromancers are bad, it doesn’t mean that all necromancers are bad.
From time to time such people can be found among Zondonians, and among
Inquisitors. Generally speaking, it’s wrong to evaluate a person according
to his ethnic background.
“Stop talking. I have a meeting
in five minutes. And by that moment I should be ready to meet the
representatives of the Northern Inquisition,” concluded Queen Abellin and
she waved a finger. And here she is, already in a white ceremonial dress,
with the crown on her head.
“Your Majesty is so pale,”
said professor Tuibe, who looked at Queen Abellin’s face with great
attention. “I think Your Majesty doesn’t look her best today. May I cast
some spells on Your Majesty, so the representatives of the Inquisition
wouldn’t see the pallor on your face.”
Tuibe raised a hand over Queen
Abellin’s face and started her magic spell. When all the spells one after
another were cast, the door swung open and professor Mannnon entered the
He was an older man, an
experienced warrior. He was the master in the art of fighting. His black
hair hanged down to his shoulders, though it wasn’t as long as Artborg’s
“Your Majesty,” said Mennnon
loyally. “Here is a letter that the Nothern Inquisition has handed over to
me. They write that they’ve been waiting already for ten minutes, for Your
Majesty to receive them to this audience, and that their patience isn’t
“How many of them are there?”
Queen Abellin asked him. “Have they sent ten representatives as they did
“This time they’re only three,
Your Majesty,” answered Mennon. “I think that Your Majesty will find that
three representatives will take less of your precious time.”
“That will do. Stop being
impolite,” smiled Queen Abellin. I’m still the Queen, and you are just my
friend. Don’t forget that it was me who made you the third most powerful
person in Zondon. See you some other time.”
The Queen ran out of her
bedroom, she passed through some more foyers, she turned to the right, she
went down the huge stairway, and she went into the throne-room, which was at
the end of a corridor, just at the same floor to her bedroom and her study.
The Queen has hardly sat down
on the throne. She carefully adjusted her clothes. She put on her crown. She
took the sceptre in her hand, moments before the hated Northern Inquisition
envoys entered the chamber.
“What do you want,” said Queen
Abellin with majestic voice, though she was furious inside.
“As Your Majesty knows, the
great sword of Attorand requires a constant protection,” begun the younger
envoy. “We have sent people who would look after the sword.”
“We don’t need any help,
especially yours,” the Queen raised her voice. “When we’ve asked for your
help, you never showed up. Where were you when the army of the dead attacked
“The sword didn’t have time to
get used to the new place yet,” started talking the older envoy. “That
because it has been at our place for a long time. We pray to let us look
after the sword in order to avoid further difficulties.”
“What nonsense,” grinned Queen
Abellin. “The Attorand’s sword is the ideal weapon. And it’s simply not
possible that anything bad could’ve happened to it. The sword had been
carried from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Gentlemen, we all know very well,
that this sword has self restoring powers.”
“I would ask Your Majesty not
to insult us,” said the senior inquisitor, who was silent before he finally
couldn’t hold his tongue.
“As far as I know, you are one
of the most repulsive Russian Inquisitions, even worse than the Western one.
Why should local residents stand still? They should’ve burned all of you,
long time ago — especially you, ungrateful inquisitor, unfaithful in your
opinion. And my answer is no.”
“But Your Majesty…” said the
younger inquisitor, “if you could appoint at least one custodian, who will
keep an eye on the sword. Is it so hard to employ one of our inquisitors?”
“Then, the famous sword is
just a toy, if it cannot resist even a place changing,” said the Queen while
she looked high-handedly at the inquisitors’ faces. “You want me to think
that the sword is a fake? That’s my final word.”
“If Your Majesty and your
people want war with us, you’ll get it,” said the older envoy while he stood
up. “Believe me, for a long time we have been longing to feel the taste of
“Get out of here, before you
say a single more word. Or I’ll give order to chop off your heads,” said the
Queen with confidence in her voice. “
“As Your Majesty wishes,” said
the older Inquisitor. “But we’ll return. And Your Majesty will later regret,
for refusing now our demands.
“I think it’s time for you to
leave,” said the Queen for the last time. And the inquisitors rushed out of
the chamber, like a cork from a bottle of Champagne.
The Queen has indeed changed
lately. Her smile vanished from her face, and a sad look appeared instead.
In addition to all, Queen Abellin has grown thinner. Her waist has reached
forty centimetres. When the Western Inquisition came to Zondon last time,
with the aim of taking away the western areas, Queen Abellin has defended
these territories, but she didn’t know what would happen tomorrow. With each
day, the nasty Inquisition became more and more disrespectful. They were of
the opinion that the Queen was weak.
Actually the sword has rather
recently chosen its keeper, and it did not require protection any more.
Dmitry was the keeper. These were the circumstances during the military
operations right after the lad has taken refuge in Zondon. Dmitry carried
the sword, so a bond between him and the sword happened — nobody knows yet
the whole story. The sword has picked Dmitry out of millions of people. It
seems that he is the only lad worthy of bearing this burden. That’s how the
lad became the keeper of the well-known sword.